jasmine wicks-stephens | the face of faace
It’s International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March, so naturally, we’ve been thinking about some of the inspiring women we’re grateful to be surrounded by here in Brighton, Hove and Sussex. Jasmine Wicks-Stephens is the founder of Brighton based beauty communications agency KNOWN, and recently launched her own natural skincare range, faace, which has already had raving reviews from national publications including Daily Express, Forbes, Refinery29, Glamour and Stylist. Not bad, ey? We caught up with her to find out more about everything from natural beauty to Brighton’s best coffee.
We absolutely love your new vegan skincare range Faace, the ultimate in feminist beauty. What gave you the idea/ inspiration to create your own brand?
The concept came from listening to my peers. Listening to how my co-workers and I talk about our faces, talk about our lives, how we feel, the products we like in a no-nonsense, real, everyday way. We’re period obsessed, and we sync (why do people do this?!), it’s weird but also quite cool. It also came from me reflecting on my own life, my own skincare habits and the things I would do positively and negatively, and most importantly realistically each and every day. I have a two year old son, and whilst I’ve never been the most high maintenance person around, all good habits definitely went out the window from the moment he was born. You know when brushing your teeth gets bumped off the list, things are bad…
So do you follow a vegan diet yourself? Why did you feel it was important for the brand to be natural skincare?
No, I’m not vegan myself, but it was really important to me that the product would be accessible for all. I’ve worked with lots of amazing natural skincare brands over the years and I’ve seen first-hand their efficacity. Plus, when we started to consider actives to use in each product to help with period, tired and sweaty faces, it made sense to include natural ingredients. I wanted the collection to be ethically made, and this also ended up leading me down a natural route.
The range has already been picked up by some big titles including Glamour, Forbes and Stylist – how does it feel to see an idea you’ve had in your head on the pages of some of your favourite titles?
AMAZING. Like really really amazing. To see something you’ve worked hard to create and really believe in yourself be praised by that calibre of title is so great. Plus, to see them review the efficacy and love the concept, is the icing on the cake.
We would happily apply Tired, Sweaty or Period Faace in public because your branding is very sexy – what do you think have been the key factors in how well the brand has been received?
Yes. This was a big part of the product development. We wanted to create standout with our branding, whilst still feeling chic, and also like a skincare brand. I remember one of our first routes was a maximalist inspired floral style (I personally love a more is more approach), and it just didn’t work for a streamlined skincare product. And whilst the product is a relatively accessible price point, it was important for us that the brand looked premium, and would be something you’d be proud to display.
So, Tired Faace, Period Faace, Sweaty Faace… which one are you?
All of them. I am the biggest Period faace candidate. I literally know my period is coming by the look of my face. Tired as I have a two-year-old that still doesn’t sleep great, so I am constantly tired! And sweaty, because I’d be lying if I said I worked out (I don’t have the time or inclination), but I like to use this when I feel like my skin needs a bit of a detox. I tend to use them mostly as a thick layer before bed and then I like to exfoliate my face the next morning to really benefit from the effects.
We love the fact that your product celebrates the highs, lows and realities and sticks it on the front of the tube. How do you think brands like yours are helping empower women?
I think it’s two main things really. If you think about period faace specifically as an example, one – because of the actual impact your period can have on your skin. My period is really disruptive to my skin, but I never make time for long skincare regimens. I also find it emotionally draining when I have my period and I want to make myself feel better with a little bit of easy self-care. For me, that means chocolate eclairs from M&S (yes, specifically there as these are the best), and a bit of beauty TLC. So, using a product that’s specially formulated to deal with the multiple skin impacts periods can have, that can be easily applied at a time when maybe you can’t be bothered to do much, could just help to make you feel a little bit better. So, self-care is kind of empowering, as it makes you feel a bit better about yourself. And two, actually calling it ‘Period faace’ and having that proudly on display, when in some ways I think that having a period still seems a bit of a taboo, which is weird when so many people have them. Providing a product that can be a little bit of a ‘F-U, I am on my period’ feels strong and empowering. I don’t think having a period should be something to feel ashamed of and having something on your shelf called ‘period’ kind of helps to normalise them even more, hopefully. It’s the same for tired and sweaty – saying you know what, I am a real person, and I feel tired or I sweat – so what?!
You run KNOWN, a comms agency in Brighton that works with some huge global brands, you’re a mum and you’ve just launched an incredible new vegan skincare range. How do you do it?
I work in the day, most nights and some weekends. There’s no secret really, just long hours and hard work. I tend to work at Known 10.00am to 6.00pm as I like to have the mornings with my son. Then I come home, and after he’s in bed at 8.00pm I work on faace. I have an amazing support network of family, friends and colleagues that also go above and beyond to help and I also never ever cook. It’s a cliché, but you do only have a certain amount of hours in a day and you have to prioritise. So cooking has been bumped off the list and convenience food from M&S is my best friend (not an #ad).
Sounds pretty inspiring. As its International Women’s Day this week, we’d love to know who the three most inspiring women are in your life are?
My female friends that are all trying to ‘have it all’, because as most women will tell you, that’s not really possible without sacrifice to yourself. I have friends that have gone through terrible situations with ill family members and children, illness themselves, or dealing with grief, being made redundant, having postnatal depression, and whatever life throws at them they all always just get on with it. With very little moaning or self-indulgence, without looking for sympathy, they just do it. I am in awe of a lot of my friends and their pure resilience. And like most people, my mum. My mum is kind, funny and strong. She shows her vulnerability, she’s not afraid to say what’s on her mind and she will never ever make me feel bad for doing what’s best for me. She’s never put any pressure on me to do anything but is always the first to compliment me when I do anything good, however small. Having that sort of unconditional love from someone else is extremely special and can help you maintain self-belief at the toughest times.
What do you love about being a woman?
Probably other women and that I get to be in lots of different girl gangs. I have one with my Nan and Mum and all my aunties, and then others from school, college, university, various places of work that I’ve picked up along the way. I love being with my friends, how they make me feel relaxed and carefree, which when you have lots of adult responsibilities (like we all do), is a feeling you feel less frequently the older you get.
Where in Sussex do you live and what do you love about it?
Brighton. I just love Brighton so much. I love how easy I can access the centre of all the hustle and bustle, but can also easily escape to nice parks and countryside. I love how many great pubs and restaurants there are. I love being able to go to the beach – despite the stones – in the summer. I like the idea of raising my son here, as it’s fairly liberal, welcoming and openminded, which are traits I hope he adopts. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
Hear hear! And what about your favourite spot in Brighton & Hove?
64 degrees is my favourite spot, but you’ll probably find me most often eating wings in The Joker.
Finally, what would your perfect day in Sussex look like?
A summer’s day pub crawl around the North Laine, all the way down to the seafront, with lunch somewhere like the Pond – got to love those buns, finishing up in 64 degrees, if Frank, my son isn’t in tow. If he is, then somewhere casual for him, maybe just Fatto a Mano. Maybe with the occasional nice cocktail en route. Sitting outside, watching all the dogs go by and just chatting with friends. I’m all about the food, drink, talking and chilling.
And now for some quick-fire questions…
What are your top three inspiring Instagram accounts you think we should follow and why?
Thecovetco for beautiful beauty illustrations
Julesvonhep for laughs and life motivation
Mytherapistsays for the memes
If you could only eat at one restaurant in Brighton, Hove or Sussex, where would it be & why?
The Market, as I could live off their delicious small plates and tasty cocktails.
Favourite brunch in Brighton & Hove?
Moksha café for their Mexican eggs, chorizo, tomato, guacamole taste sensation thing. I don’t know what it is or what it’s called.
Best coffee in Brighton & Hove?
Black Mocha for its tasty flat whites
Photo credits: Emma Croman